Robert “Bobby” Haas ’72, a lawyer who made his fortune in private equity before becoming an aerial photographer and motorcycle aficionado, died Sept. 28.
Haas was extremely successful in the world of private equity in the ’80s. With his partner, Thomas Hicks, he combined Dr Pepper and 7UP into one company and then sold it when the timing was right, making huge profits. He was then able to pursue interests that became passions, from aerial photography, despite a fear of heights, to motorcycle riding and collecting. Along the way, he was a strong supporter of Harvard Law School. A professorship bears his name as does the lounge in the Caspersen Student Center, where some of his aerial images hang on the wall. Many of his photographs are collected in National Geographic books. He donated the proceeds from those volumes to charities, including ones supporting endangered species.
His interest in photography began when a colleague from Goldman Sachs suggested he try a safari in a Kenyan game preserve. Haas went on to take many more trips and many more photos. In a feature in the Harvard Law Bulletin published in 2002, he said that it was these early trips to Africa to photograph animals that began to sharpen his “thinking about life and death and the world and what kind of contribution I can make.”
Read Haas’ obituary in the Wall Street Journal.